Tag Archives: FeaturedBlog

Trick or Treat Checklist and Safety Tips

DHREA 31/10/2019

You can never be too prepared or too safe when it comes to our children trick or treating. Continuing the Halloween theme this week, we thought it was important to present some tips and tricks to help make you and your child’s Halloween fun, safe, and as fail-safe as can be. First, we listed some fantastic supplies that come in handy during the yearly candy and costume adventure. Second, some really good safety tips for the spooky night. These might just be refreshers to some, but protecting our little ones is worth the refresher.

TRICK OR TREAT SUPPLY CHECKLIST

  • Candy Bag
  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries
  • Reflector Strips or Glow Stick
  • Trick or Treating Route
  • Return Home/Meet-Up Time
  • Emergency Identification Information Attached
  • Costume Check
  • Bandaids
  • Bottled Water
  • Extra House Key
  • Cell Phone

TRICK OR TREAT SAFETY TIPS

  • Go During Safe Trick Or Treat Times

    You don’t have to wait until it is pitch-black outside to go trick-or-treating. A good trick or treat time is right after an early dinner and just before dusk when you can keep better track of your children and you are able to see the others that you encounter on the street. Besides, if you are the first person there, you will have the best selection of candy!

  • Steer Clear Of Masks

    While masks are a fun part of many costumes, do your best to recreate the mask with face paint. Having a mask on can sometimes impair the vision of the child wearing it. With face paint, it is easier for your child to see where they are going and they won’t have to lift their mask to have a conversation with a fellow trick or treater. If your child absolutely must wear a Halloween mask, make sure it’s a snug fit, is ventilated and has large enough eyeholes so they can see all around them.

  • Be Visible

    If your kids will comply, choose costumes that are brightly colored so that they are easier to see in the dark. If they really want a dark costume, apply some reflective strips to their costume. You could also have them wear glow necklaces or carry glow sticks and flashlights.

  • Never Go Alone

    It is important that your children have an adult chaperon at all times while trick or treating. You should also discreetly add some emergency identification information such as the child’s name, address & phone number to their costume or on a bracelet in case your child happens to get separated from the group.

  • Walking Tips

    Be sure that your children understand simple traffic rules, such as stopping and looking both ways before crossing the street, and staying in a crosswalk if one is available. If you have to cross at a light, make sure you have the proper “walk” signal before you proceed. Inform your children that they should never assume that they have the right away when crossing the street, especially at night on Halloween.

  • Knock On Doors That You Know

    Encourage your children to only trick-or-treat at homes where they know the inhabitants. If they know everyone on the street, except for one house, they could ask the neighbors about that one house. If a home is dark or has no Halloween decorations, that is typically a good sign that they are not up for trick-or-treaters.

  • Don’t Go Inside

    Trick-or-treaters always seem to run across a house or two where someone invites them to “come in”. Remind your little ones that they should never go inside anybody’s home while trick-or-treating. They can easily get the candy they seek from the porch or if the homeowner is persistent, inform them to simply turn and walk away.

  • Stay On Track

    It might be tempting to take a short cut through an alley or cut through someone’s yard, but that can sometimes pose a danger. Stay on streets and in neighborhoods that are well lit and where there are plenty of people around.

  • Say No!

    If you’re children are old enough to trick or treat in a group without you, be sure and designate a time for their return. Teach your children that if a stranger offers to give them a ride or take them to a Halloween Party, they should say “no”. Stranger danger is important to remember no matter how old your kids are, even while trick-or-treating.

  • Taste-Testing Patience

    Make sure your little goblins know that trick or treating is for gathering candy, not eating it as they receive it. You know they’re going to be tempted to take a taste before you’ve had a chance to inspect it, so pack a goody bag with some of your own Halloween candy so they have something to snack on if they just can’t wait until they get home.

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Tara Mortgage Services featured blog: Mortgage Mythbusters: First-Time Homebuyer Edition

DHREA 25/09/2019
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Entering the housing market as a newbie can be intimidating. Even more so when you hear rumors about how “difficult” or “expensive,” it is. But don’t believe it! As the experts in first-time home loans, we have all the answers and resources to make your home purchase happen with ease.

Find out the truth about buying your first home, and for personalized answers, contact us! 

Myth #1:

You need 20% downpayment.

While a 20% down payment means you won’t pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), you can buy a home with much less down. In fact, there are loan programs that require as little as 3% down. Are you a veteran, currently enlisted, or a spouse of a member of armed forces? Then you may qualify for zero down! 

20% down has its perks, such as no PMI and building equity a lot sooner. But that doesn’t mean you MUST have 20% now to buy a home. When it comes to how much you can afford to pay every month, an FHA loan with 3% may be the most affordable option.

Myth #2:

You won’t qualify for a home loan if you have student loans.

Got student debt! So do most borrowers! Student debt and credit card debt are different “in the eyes of lenders.” So even if you have substantial student debt, buying your first home is still very much possible. 

Myth #3:

Avoid adjustable-rate mortgages like the plague.

The 2008 housing crisis is still fresh on many buyer’s minds, and this may make you wary of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). But you shouldn’t be! The bust was more of an issue of too-lax qualifying standards and less about the loan program itself. 

ARM loans are an attractive option because of the low fixed interest rate it offers for the first few years. An ARM is a great option if you plan on refinancing or selling within 10 years. In fact, it could potentially save you thousands.

Myth #4:

You won’t qualify for any government home loan program. 

Government-sponsored loans from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer numerous affordable lending options. Eligibility is much easier than other loan programs and could be based on the location of the home, your income, your military status, and even your first-time homebuyer status! 

Curious as to which government loan you qualify for? Contact us today to get started!

Myth #5:

Your pre-approval can be used on ANY home.

The property itself may impact how much you’ll ultimately be able to borrow, especially when it comes to the final cost. So even if you were approved for a specific amount, your pre-approval might not be work in that particular property. This is most often the case when it comes to properties like condos and townhomes that may have higher final cost due to property tax rates and homeowners association fees. 

Myth #6:

You don’t need a real estate agent.

Searching home listings via the internet is easy but presenting you a list of homes for sale isn’t the only thing a real estate agent does! They work as your advocate. They know the housing market well, know all the right questions to ask, negotiate on your behalf, and make sure that you are absolutely satisfied with your new home purchase. 

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced “flipper,” real estate agents offer an invaluable service in the homebuying journey. 

So what’s the truth about purchasing a home as a first-time buyer? It’s easier than you think! Contact us today to get matched with a home loan program that fits your budget and lifestyle. For the fastest response, use our contact form located on our site or give Tara Mortgage Services a call. We look forward to serving your mortgage needs!

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Analyzing your next RE Deal and the actions steps from A-Z to get to closing

Saturday, Oct 12, 2019, 10:00 AM

Hampton Inn Bridgeville
150 Old Pond Rd Bridgeville, pa

25 Members Attending

We will discuss the steps from start to finish in detail. From creating your business model, how to find the great deals before the other person does and the specific steps to get that deal under contract and to the closing table. We are going to cram in a lot in 2 hours but it will be worth every minute.

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Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

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DHRE Presents a HVMN Featured Blog! Ashwagandha: Reduce Stress for Better Performance

DHREA 29/07/2019

(Originally published on HVMN by Jamie Witherby.)

It can feel like the human race is literally racing: first place is the most fit, the most productive, the most together, and the most informed. Sometimes, you may want to put on your horse’s blinders and just keep moving forward undeterred.

Once you’ve donned those blinders to stay focused on how productive you can be on your own path, the next step is to embody the horse itself. These majestic creatures are fast, strong, hard-working, and resilient; hence the term “fit as a horse.”

And how about that sweet stable scent? The animal’s distinct aroma actually inspired the name for an herb that may be able to assist you with obtaining the mental and physical fitness of your noble steed. Saddle up, folks; today, we’re talking about Ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha’s Debut

Native to South Asia and North Africa, Ashwagandha (ash-wuh-GONE-duh) is a flowering shrub in the solanaceae (or nightshade) family that has been used as a healing herb in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.1 The plant is promoted for its ability to treat conditions ranging from chronic fatigue and bone weakness to emaciation and impotency. The roots of the plant are most commonly used and have been administered in numerous forms, including powders, tonics, and even a boiled ghee and milk drink. Beyond more urgent medical maladies, Ashwagandha has been used as an aphrodisiac, sedative, memory enhancer, and strength builder.1

To encapsulate these benefits, Ayurveda considers Ashwagandha to be a Rasayana. Rasayana refers to a class of herbal or metallic preparations that may promote a more youthful mental and physical state. Generally, these remedies are taken by the middle-aged and elderly communities to increase longevity and foster happiness.2

But the root isn’t just for older people because Ashwagandha isn’t just a Rasayana; it’s a Medhya Rasayana. Medhya refers to the mind. Ashwagandha has been used to help children with memory deficits or those with compromised memories after a brain injury. More broadly, children have enjoyed a tonic made from the herb to curb emaciation and fever.2

Ashwagandha’s lovely Latin name, Withania somnifera, joins other cheery terms for the plant, such as winter cherry and Indian ginseng. But the Sanskrit name Ashwagandha is favored for its less-than favorable meaning: “smell of the horse.” The delicate yellow flowers and green leaves of this herb are notable for their pungent horse-like musk when disturbed.1

Let’s Get Mental

Divisive scent aside, Ashwagandha is agreeable for its promising mental and physical benefits. First we’ll explore the brain’s side of things, where Ashwagandha can help alleviate stress, improve memory and cognitive function.

Bucking Stress and Anxiety

There’s another name for Ashwagandha we haven’t mentioned yet.

If Ashwagandha could enter a horse race, it’d be classified as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is an herb that can improve your ability to adapt to stress by normalizing the body’s physiological responses.3 But the criteria for being classified as an adaptogen are a little more complex. In addition to helping the body cope with stress, an herb is only lucky enough to be deemed an adaptogen if it can decrease stress-induced physical damage, produce beneficial effects when administered over time, and be devoid of significant negative side effects.4 Ashwagandha is in a rare class.

A targeted approach is Ashwagandha’s preferred method. The target? The biochemical marker for stress, cortisol. When you’re stressed, you trigger the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands, followed by an increase in heart rate for the classic fight-or-flight response. Cortisol can be a lifesaving hormone in dangerous situations. But it can be debilitating when stress is constant. Elevated stress levels can contribute not only to that signature irritability and fatigue, but also to negative impacts on the body’s major systems.5

Here’s a stress-reducer: Ashwagandha root extract can potentially block the brain’s stress processing pathway by increasing inhibitory signaling, which may be involved in its anxiety-reducing effects concomitantly with decreased cortisol levels.3,6

In 2000, a double blind, placebo-controlled study observed the efficacy of Ashwagandha extract on generalized anxiety disorder. The researchers noted a significant improvement in anxiety symptoms as well as depressive tendencies. The study encouraged deeper exploration of Ashwagandha for its therapeutic uses in people with anxiety disorders.7

A 2009 study responded to the call by assessing the safety of naturopathic care for anxiety symptoms following subjects with moderate to severe anxiety for six weeks of Ashwagandha root supplementation. In addition to the Ashwagandha plant, subjects received other natural anxiety assistants, such as deep breathing relaxation techniques and your standard multi-vitamin. Another group received traditional psychotherapy, deep breathing relaxation techniques, and the placebo supplement. The Ashwagandha recipients experienced a 56.5% reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to the placebo recipients’ 30.5% reduction.8

Even if you don’t have a nervous system, you have a central nervous system, and it may benefit from the effects of Ashwagandha.

Betting on Improved Memory and Cognitive Function

Place your bets on which herb has also traditionally been used to boost memory.9 This tradition carries weight; Ashwagandha has shown promising effects in enhancing overall mental functioning for those with mild cognitive impairment.10

The root extract may also protect and restore spatial memory by counteracting the effects of oxidative stress, which impair essential neuronal function and signaling proteins in the neuronal membranes.9

Oxidative stress is one of the major culprits in brain aging because of free radical-induced damage. Free radicals are unstable because they have a single unpaired electron that’s always on the hunt for freebie electrons. Your cells are practically giving them away. But when cells forfeit an electron, they weaken and become more susceptible to disease and death.11 Ashwagandha’s anti-oxidative properties allow it to say “neigh” to this premature ending, which may reduce brain function impairment caused by disease or injury.12

But maybe you’re looking for a little edge over regular, everyday cognitive function. How does an improvement in executive functioning sound?

Ashwagandha has shown significant improvements in sustained attention and the speed of information-processing.10 That’s why HVMN included it in nootropic stack, Rise. Our daily nootropic contains the purest possible Ashwagandha plant extract available, along with other premium ingredients to help boost memory, mood and long-term cognitive resilience. Rise is a memory and cognition-boosting neuroprotectant formulated to keep your mind focused and flexible.13,14 The added stress-reducing qualities of Ashwagandha allow you to sit back, relax, and hone in on your tasks.

Let’s Get Physical

The term “fit as a horse” isn’t talking about mental toughness. Lucky for you, Ashwagandha has a lot to offer on the physical side of things as well, and may help increase performance by reducing stress.

Increase Your Horsepower

Maybe you’re more interested in what Ashwagandha can do to the outside of your body rather than inside of it. How does better body composition and physical performance sound?

In a study of healthy volunteers, participants enjoyed a significant increase in strength of muscle activity after supplementing with Ashwagandha for thirty days.15 The quadriceps and back extensor muscles showed the most significant increases in strength after 30 days of supplementation without exercise. The back extensor muscles are attached to the spine, and we use them for a pretty big portion of our daily activities, including standing and lifting objects.

Similarly, a human study of Ashwagandha’s combination with resistance training yielded substantial increases in muscle mass and functional strength.16 Untrained men on a standardized eight-week strength training program were given 600mg of Ashwagandha root powder daily. Compared to the placebo group, the lucky root recipients improved their bench press single repetition maximum by a full 44 pounds. And their own roots—otherwise known as legs—performed extension exercises with 11 pounds greater resistance than the placebo group16.

If you’re a bigger fan of endurance training, supplementing with Ashwagandha root extract for eight weeks was shown to increase velocity, power, and VO2 max in healthy young adults.17 This 2010 double blind study notes that withania somnifera may be a useful tool to combat weakness and target lower limb muscular strength with the potential to improve speed.

No More Sugar Cubes: Reducing Blood Glucose Levels

Maybe you’re training for a big race. Or maybe you’ve got a big presentation to prepare for. That diligence should be rewarded, but having your head down isn’t always the best thing. Lift your horse blinders for a moment to look back on a topic we already covered: Ashwagandha’s effects on cortisol levels. We’re thinking that race or presentation may lead to stress, which might explain why your shoulders have been hiked to your ears all week.

Cortisol is the nefarious hormone causing you stress, but remember that chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body’s systems because it engages the fight-or-flight mechanism. Your body isn’t set up to engage this response over a long period of time, which means your body’s systems change how they operate. Your cardiovascular health may suffer from higher blood pressure, which is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and heart disease.18 Constipation or diarrhea could alter your digestive habits,19 which could be extra painful if you find yourself developing stress-related stomach ulcers. Muscle tension from those hiked shoulders could also cause soreness and headaches, including migraines.20

When stress-inducing cortisol levels remain elevated, it can also lead to high blood sugar levels. Ashwagandha can address this rise by reducing cortisol levels.3

As if one mechanism wasn’t enough, Ashwagandha has a second line of defense against high blood glucose. This potent plant has been shown to increase insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.21 This goes for diabetics and non-diabetics alike.22 In a study following those with type 2 diabetes, one month of Ashwagandha supplementation lowered blood sugar levels as effectively as diabetes medication.23

Heart Health: Food for Thought

Ashwagandha also has two mechanisms for improving the health of the heart pumping all that blood around. Let’s return to the other type of stress Ashwagandha assists with: oxidative stress.

Recall that oxidative stress relates to an excess of free radicals that can cause inflammation and cell damage. Ashwagandha has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties by increasing the activity of infection-fighting cells in the immune system.24,25,26

Ashwagandha can also decrease inflammation markers, such as C-reactive protein, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.22

But heart disease is multifaceted. Luckily, Ashwagandha is, too. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce heart-heavy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.27

Namely, Ashwagandha targets the reduction of low-density lipoproteins (or LDLs), which are traditionally referred to as the “bad” cholesterol contributors to cardiovascular disease.22 After 60 days of regular Ashwagandha extract supplementation of 500mg a day, chronically stressed subjects experienced a reduction of LDLs by up to 17.4%.22

An almost identical percentage, 17.3%, marked a beneficial increase: the production of high-density lipoproteins (or HDLs).22 High-density lipoproteins are generally what we mean when we discuss “good” cholesterol. These are the lipoproteins with the unique ability to catch the “bad” LDLs before they can cozy up on our arterial walls and accelerate the atherosclerotic process. But this ability is time-sensitive. Imagine pouring cement—while the cement is still wet, we can move it around into a smooth sidewalk surface or, to the workers dismay, mark the rare occasion with a handprint, lopsided heart, or initials. Once the cement has dried, you can’t really change it, but you can always add more on top. In order to prevent the LDLs from becoming a permanent fixture cemented to our arteries, we have to move quickly with the HDLs to retain smooth arterial walls for proper blood flow.28

Male Fertility

Ayurveda has used Ashwagandha to combat male fertility issues such as impotence and poor sperm motility. Modern clinical trials and human studies are taking note, testing its effects on subjects with fertility issues. The results are promising.

A 2009 study administering daily withania somnifera root powder to infertile men observed its impacts on sperm profiles. Sperm count, motility, concentration, and overall volume all increased.29 The semen also revealed a notable decrease in oxidative products with an increase in antioxidant enzymes.

A double blind 2013 study echoed these fertility findings with a focus on how the root powder impacts serum biochemistry in infertile men. The results suggest that withania somnifera therapy can recover the quality of semen in infertile men by rebooting the enzymatic activity of metabolic pathways and invigorating the balance of reproductive hormones and seminal plasma metabolites.30

Hold your horses—that’s not all. Ashwagandha’s stress-shattering properties may have implications for sperm well-being, too. In a 2009 study on stress-related male infertility, withania somnifera resulted in a significant decrease in stress as well as a significant increase in the levels of antioxidants and overall semen quality.31 That’s strong enough to result in pregnancy in the partners of 14% of the subjects with stress-related fertility issues.

Supplementing with Ashwagandha

Throughout this article, you may have noticed references to multiple supplementation forms of Ashwagandha, and they’re not all created equal.

Ashwagandha powders and extract of Ashwagandha are sourced from either the leaves or the roots of the plant and contain different levels of the structures that are responsible for mental and physical effects.

Namely, you’ll come across concentrations of the following: Withanolide A and Withaferin A. Withanolide A is more concentrated in the roots, while Withaferin A lurks in the leaves. Withanolide A is the potent structure in Ashwagandha that you will want to consider when shopping for a supplement,32 which is why we included it in Rise.

Look for supplements with a branded form of Ashwagandha. Branded forms mean more research has gone into the product’s safety and effectiveness, contributing to a higher quality extract. They also often denote a higher concentration of Withanolide A up to 10% as compared to the 0% – 3% range of non-branded extracts.

Ashwagandha is generally tolerated well in small to medium doses, with no major adverse events observed in animal studies or human studies. The side effects of large doses are mild gastrointestinal issues and vomiting.3 Taking Ashwagandha is not advised if you are allergic to other members of the solanaceae family, such as eggplant.

While the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have a recommended daily intake set for Ashwagandha, research studies show a daily dose ranging between 125mg – 1,250mg. Because the effects of Ashwagandha include changes in blood pressure and blood glucose levels, consult your healthcare provider if you’re on medications for these conditions and would like to add Ashwagandha to your supplementing routine. Even if you’re not taking these medications, we recommend talking to your doctor prior to supplementing with anything new.

Off to the Races

Ashwagandha is no one-trick pony. This potent herb may be able to take your physical and mental fitness to equestrian levels by reducing your stress, boosting your memory, and assisting with your strength and endurance training. Compared to the strength of its benefits, Ashwagandha’s namesake stallion scent is nothing.

Network with nearly 700 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
691 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

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Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
167 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Red Tree Mortgage: https://www.redtreemtg.com/

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